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Alain Cavalier, 1993
France | Format: 35mm | 80 minutes
Best known for his French New Wave–era political thrillers (Fire and Ice, The Unvanquished), Alain Cavailer has also produce a body of egregiously undersung documentaries and experimental works. One of the very best is this fable of political occupation and resistance that feels somehow both alien and familiar. In this series of situational tableaux set in a totalitarian dictatorship, no words are spoken, but the soundtrack is rich with the faint sounds of bodies breathing, shifting, embracing, and struggling. The low-key lighting, palette of dim blues and browns, emotional restraint, and precise framing call to mind Bresson or Malle, but the cumulative effect of this unique film is very much all its own.